Submission Number: MBTL-SEPA-DEIS-0002535
Received: 6/11/2016 7:07:13 PM
Commenter: Ann Murphy
Organization: League of Women Voters of Washington
Agency: Cowlitz County and the Washington Department of Ecology
Initiative: Millennium Bulk-Terminals Longview SEPA DEIS
Attachments: No Attachments
Maintaining a sustainable and hospitable environment is a major priority for The League of Women Voters of Washington.
The League of Women Voters of Washington believes that the “no action” alternative in the Millennium Bulk Terminals Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) should be selected. There has been more than sufficient evidence presented that this project is neither in the best interests of the citizens of Washington State (especially the residents of Longview and communities along the rail route) nor of the overriding cause of lowering the global carbon footprint in time to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.
While some have argued that the relatively cleaner coal exported from the U.S. exported to China would replace locally mined, dirtier fuel, we do not believe there is any assurance that coal demand would not rise as lower grade (and more polluting) domestically mined coal in China (and other receiving countries) became cheaper to purchase. We believe this facility would risk adding substantially to the global climate footprint, and that this is a risk that must not be permitted.
We understand that energy pricing and market elasticity are very complex; short of a functional and enforceable global system of carbon pricing, it is a safe assumption that more fossil fuel extraction, processing and export will worsen the global carbon footprint.
The Draft EIS identifies significant impacts on human health and the environment, and suggests mitigation measures without persuasive evidence that any such measures would be feasible, affordable, or effective. The Final EIS should make sure that all discussions of mitigation options are presented with full acknowledgement of their limitations should they be employed, and an analysis of mechanisms for enforcement. It should also assess means of assuring that all attendant costs of mitigation would be borne by the operators, not by the public. Research by the Sightline Institute (http://www.sightline.org/2016/05/04/coal-trains-mean-coal-dust-period/ ) and others demonstrates the unlikelihood of significant mitigation measures being realized, thus reinforcing our conviction that the "no action" alternative should be selected.
Ann Murphy, President
League of Women Voters of Washington